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Bloom in Tech

Author: David Bloom

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I talk with (and about) smart, innovative people and companies in tech, media, entertainment, VR/AR, games, esports, AI, blockchain and advertising. I'm a long-time journalist and former studio executive. I write regularly for Forbes, Next TV, Tubefilter, and TVRev, and consult on communications and content strategy. Support this podcast:
96 Episodes
The big streaming-video services were more important than ever in 2020 as the pandemic sent viewership and subscription levels soaring even as several big new services launched, and struggled to get their feet under them. So how did they do, and where are they headed in 2021? I go through my end-of-year grades for Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and Peacock, and look at some of the major trends likely to transform the streaming-video industry in 2021, well beyond just the Big Seven. Let me know what service and shows you watched most in 2020, and which you're looking forward to most in 2021. And don't forget to rate, review, share and subscribe. Happy new year! I hope it's a safe and sane one for you and all you care about.  --- Support this podcast:
I talked recently with two top NBCUniversal executives about Blueprint, their revamped hobbyist learning site, which combines lessons in nearly dozen categories with lean-back content, community, e-commerce operations and a healthy dose of celebrities and influencers. The site, now a subscription video-on-demand operation, is busy cross-pollinating with other parts of NBCU, and will be the basis for extending e-commerce functions throughout many parts of the media giant, the executives told me. It's a smart and provocative vision of the future of SVOD video sites and one I expect Amazon and others will be copying soon enough. You heard it here first. Give it a listen, won't you?  --- Support this podcast:
WarnerMedia stunned Hollywood this past week when it announced that its entire 17-film slate will debut on streaming service HBO Max the same day the films arrive in theaters, blowing up decades of lucrative "windowing" in the movie business. Those day-and-date releases include some hotly anticipated projects, like the latest version of sci-fi classic Dune, another Matrix sequel, Wonder Woman 1984 (technically announced earlier, and for Christmas Day this year), Godzilla vs. Kong, Lin-Manuel Miranda's In the Heights,  Clint Eastwood and Denzel Washington projects, and much else. I explain why WarnerMedia and owner AT&T likely had little choice, and why other studios likely will follow suit. It should make for a very good time for streaming subscribers, but a much less good time for movie theaters, and for many who make those movies.  --- Support this podcast:
We've finally come to the end, more or less of the 2020 election season, helped along in part by significant changes by the big social media platforms in some of their most problematic "engagement" tools. Let's keep those tools on ice, and consider some other changes in the role that YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms played in our civic (if sometimes uncivil) discourse on the way to Election Day. Let me know what you think about changes that might be needed and where we might go next, now that the voting's finally done.  --- Support this podcast:
I'd been expecting the Quibi collapse for a year before the mobile video site even launched,, but that doesn't mean there aren't lessons to learn from its just-announced and still-unfortunate fall. I talk about those lessons in this episode, plus share my recent conversation with Govind Balakrishnan, the CEO and co-founder of subscription audio app Curio, which takes meaningful stories from such top journalism sites as The Economist, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Wired, and Bloomberg, and turns them into professionally produced, highly targeted audio for subscribers. Govind delves into the huge opportunity for "screen-less media;" why they are only part of a potentially huge sector subscription sound of all kinds that includes Audible, Spotify, Calm, Headspace, and podcasts; "the experience side of content;" and the international opportunity for more audio that can traverse the globe.  --- Support this podcast:
Tubi is the biggest ad-supported video service in streaming, and was bought by Fox earlier this yea for a hefty $440 millionr. I sat down with Adam Lewinson, the company's chief content officer, this week as part of the virtual NATPE Streaming Plus conference. We covered a lot of ground, talking about all the company's news about big jumps in viewership, new territories and sections, whether they'll ever make original shows, and why ad-supported video is going to be the way most people watch TV in the streaming future.  --- Support this podcast:
Labor Day Weekend is normally a dumping ground for the movie business, but not in 2020. Two blockbusters, "Mulan" and "Tenet," are using very different platforms to reach audiences this weekend. One is a pricey premium addition to streaming service Disney+, the other is available in whatever theaters across the country are open amid the pandemic. How each of these $200 million blockbusters does on its respective distribution platform will help shape Hollywood's next steps with its highest-profile products for months or even years to come.  --- Support this podcast:
Walter Murch is a pioneer in using digital non-linear editing software to create films, and helped create the notion of "sound design" as well. He's won three Oscars in sound and film editing (for The English Patient and Apocalypse Now) and been nominated for six more. He talks with me about his latest project, the documentary Coup 53 (available through virtual cinema at, the extremely secret British agent at the heart of the coup to oust a democratically elected prime minister in Iran in 1953, and the unfortunate lessons it taught the CIA about covert ops and regime change. MI6 agent Norman Darbyshire was a real-life James Bond, someone "who got things done," yet " almost completely disappeared from history," Murch says. "The coup was his masterpiece." We also talk about how editing a film is like churning butter; why he used Adobe Premiere Pro for the first time after decades with Avid and Apple Final Cut Pro; and the future of movie theaters, both the big chains and indie arthouses.  --- Support this podcast:
Three of entertainment's biggest media companies - Disney, NBCU and ViacomCBS – helped make it a red letter week in the history of Hollywood's grudging embrace of streaming video, as all three took actions that will pivot them ever more sharply toward online distribution platforms for their shows. Add in significant actions by Cinemark, Regal, the U.S. Department of Justice, Microsoft and TikTok, and the week was one for the ages. I share my thoughts on where this is all heading (fast), but would love to hear from you too. You can follow me on Twitter (@DavidBloom) and LinkedIn (/davidlbloom), and leave a voice message on What's your prediction for where Hollywood is heading over the next 18 months? Let me know.  --- Support this podcast:
Universal, the big movie studio, cut a landmark deal this week with AMC, the nation's biggest theater chain. The business of showing movies may never be the same, though not just for what it means for those two big companies. This episode of Bloom in Tech looks the direct impacts of the deal for Universal and AMC, how likely other studios and theater chains are to copy it, and what might come hereafter with the big subscription video services as big tech and media companies start to integrate  the possibilities here with so much else. Amazon Theaters/Shopping/Whole Foods/Esports Arenas? Apple Store/Movie Palaces? Think Very Big Deal. --- Support this podcast:
My quarterly grades for the big subscription-video services is out. I talk about which "students" did well, and which need a lot of work among Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, Peacock, Quibi, and CBS All Access. I suspect there's little surprise about who's at the head of the class, but it's also clear the pandemic has both been the biggest opportunity and biggest challenge for all the new competitors launching in the middle of widespread lockdowns. You can also read more about the grades I and my colleague Alan Wolk are handing out here on TVRev. Also, as mentioned in this episode, I'm part of three recent online conversations you may also be interested in:  San Diego Comic-Con@Home "World Builders: The Evolution of Immersive Entertainment," featuring Paramount Studios Futurist Ted Schilowitz and Unity Innovation Labs chief Isabel Riva, among others. Named one of the top "under the radar" panels by Comic Book Review. You can watch/listen beginning July 26, when it debuts here: Let's DEW Lunch: Dane Smith of The Third Floor with David Bloom, discussing how visualization technologies are changing film and TV production. Among his recent projects - the THIRD season of The Mandalorian, the sequels to Jim Cameron's Avatar, and Amazon Prime's spinoff series from Lord of the Rings. So, lots to talk about. Listen/watch here: Influencer Marketing Virtual Conference and Expo. "State of Influencer Marketing" The conference was free to watch, but for access to all the recorded sessions (and material from some previous influencer marketing events), you'd need to pony up $100. You can find it all here: It was a pretty tremendous conversation, and I was a panelist rather than moderator, but some interesting trends happening. I'll try to get into some of these things in future Bloom in Tech episodes.  --- Support this podcast:
Raffi Bagdasarian is founder and CEO of Paket Media, which is building a product designed to simplify what’s emerging as a significant headache for millions of streaming-video consumers, and for the streaming services they buy into. The headache: dealing with managing multiple subscriptions from numerous media companies, especially as we shift away from traditional pay TV bundles. The complications of managing all those subscriptions are made worse because none of the big new services want to rely on a competitor such as Roku or Amazon to do it for them. Just look at what happened when HBO Max debuted without being part of either of those giant streaming platforms. I talked with Raffi as part of this episode, and more generally discuss some of the challenges emerging as more of us turn to streaming video, especially subscription services, to get more and more of entertainment. The shift brings lots of benefits, but its own set of headaches.  --- Support this podcast:
Peter Y. Levin is a partner in Griffin Gaming Partners, which invests in the game business, and chairman of Immortals, the big esports team with backers such as AEG, Meg Whitman and Michael Milken. Before all that, Levin was a founder of Nerdist, and former head of interactive for Lionsgate and Legendary, among much else. I talked with Peter about building the Metaverse, and how games such as Fortnite and Minecraft are helping us get there. We also talk opportunities in esports, mobile, marketing and educational content in games and much else. The real opportunity may be in building the Metaverse, which we're thinking about more and more as the pandemic forces us to spend more and more of our lives online in virtual environments.  --- Support this podcast:
I talked with Dan Weinstein, the head of Studio71, the big online-video distributor, about "blocking and tackling" during the pandemic, new opportunities in streaming, why the OTT industry is loving what's on Studio71's shelf, and what's up with Quibi. We also talked about just-launched trivia board game "Half Truth," created by Jeopardy star Ken Jennings and Magic the Gathering creator Richard Garfield, and the challenges the company is finding launching a game meant for groups of grownups at a time when the pandemic has turned our social lives upside down. .  --- Support this podcast:
I talked recently with comedian and long-time podcaster Duncan Trussell about his newest project, The Midnight Gospel, now available on Netflix. It's an extremely unlikely mashup of Trussell's deeply philosophical podcast conversations with some of the most interesting thinkers out there and the DayGlo animation of Pendleton Ward, creator of Adventure Time, in collaboration with animation house Titmouse. Together, they've wrought a fascinating piece of work. As part of our conversation, Duncan and I talked about such relevant cultural touchstones as John McPhee's Annals of the Former World, N.K, Jemisin's Hugo-winning science fiction, Nick Park's Oscar-winning Creature Comforts,  Ram Dass, Trudy Goodman, Roshi Joan Halifax, Anne Lamott, and, well, quite a few other things. The Midnight Gospel is a unique animated show, unlike anything else out there, and that's a good thing. Give a listen.  --- Support this podcast:
Brent Weinstein is a partner and Chief Innovation Officer at one of Hollywood's biggest talent agencies, UTA. I interviewed Brent this week as part of the just-launched live-stream series Lets DEW Lunch, from the folks behind the Digital Entertainment World conference series. Brent has been closely involved in UTA's significant presence in technology and digital entertainment. Our conversation ranged widely, from esports to the new streaming services to celebrities launching their own social-media feeds to the long-term prospects for all those music live-streams, among much else. It's an extraordinary time in Hollywood, which already was undergoing wrenching changes even before the pandemic turned the business upside down. Check out our conversation, and if you get the chance, check out the Let's DEW Lunch conversations, which happen at mid-day (PST), and involve some high-profile executives from across the industry.  --- Support this podcast:
Bob Pittman ran MTV and AOL when it was cool to run them, and has since done a lot of other big media jobs. These days, he runs iHeart Media, the nation's biggest radio group, and its biggest podcast group. At this week's Podcast Movement Evolutions conference in Los Angeles, Pittman sat down with Conal Byrne, his top podcasting executive, to talk about the business. I have a little bit of material from Pittman's talk, and my own observations from the show and elsewhere in a deal-filled week for what's become a burgeoning business. Call it my meta-podcast, the podcast about podcasting.  Along the way this holiday weekend, I take a little detour to smell the roses, with my essay called The Stick and the Box, inspired by some conversations today that got me thinking about the ways dogs and kids have managed to find joy, and how the rest of us could benefit by spending more time finding our own gratitude.  Check it out, and let me know what you think on Twitter (@Davidbloom), LinkedIn (/davidlbloom), and through's audio comment function. I'd love to hear what you think about the essay, about the future of podcasting, or about your own plans on the frontiers of audio content creation. Is it a fad, or will podcasting's fan base stick around and grow? Let me know your thoughts. By the way, if you want to hear Pittman's own podcast Math & Magic; Stories from the Frontiers of Marketing, you can listen here. Check out Supercast's approach to creating premium podcast options here.  Bill Curtis' CurtCo Media can be reached here.  Emi Norris' Paradiso, the Paris-based (with US operations) podcast production company, can be found here.  And if you want to hear Debra Chen's just-launched podcast, The Great Fail, listen here. --- Support this podcast:
After high-profile launches in November, and early success with shows such as The Morning Show and The Mandalorian, new subscription streaming services Disney+ and Apple TV+ are now moving into new and uncertain territory. Subscribers may have seen the shows they wanted to see, and may be considering moving on. In this episode of Bloom in Tech, we talk about the Churn Zone, and what it means for Disney, Apple and other subscription video services launching this spring.  --- Support this podcast:
The NCAA's recent decision to allow college athletes to profit from their "name, image and likeness" is likely to unleash a deluge of athlete/influencers, with a long list of unanswered questions about what it's all going to mean for influencers, influencer marketing, advertisers and college sports. I get into some of the issues in the first part of this episode.  In part two, listen to the panel I moderated at  the sprawling Digital Hollywood conference earlier this month on influencers and the influencer lifestyle. The discussion featured  Shaine Griffin, Associate Commercials Strategist for SAG-AFTRA, organizing influencers; Bruna Nessif, Influencer and Author, “Let That Shit Go: A Journey to Forgiveness, Healing & Understanding Love” & founder, “The Problem With Dating;" Gregg Martin, Actor and content creator; Brendan Kane, Author of “One Million Followers;” and YiZhou, Influencer, actor, director & founder of Global Intuition.  It's a great conversation for anyone interested in the future of influencers and influencer marketing, and some of the tools influencers are using to become a success. Give it a lesson.  --- Support this podcast:
Claire Wineland became a popular YouTube influencer talking about the thing that ultimately killed her, cystic fibrosis. But she also became popular because she talked about so much more than just CF, living a remarkable life and teaching us repeatedly that we need to pursue something bigger than ourselves, no matter the challenges life dumps in our lap. I talked with Nicholas Reed about Claire Wineland and "Claire," the YouTube Original documentary he co-directed (You can read my Tubefilter column about "Claire" here, and watch the doc for free on YouTube here). "Claire" has already received nearly 1.4 million views since its Sept. 2 release, and it's worth the watch. In the meantime, Nick and I talk about the lessons we all need to learn from Claire's example. Give a listen.  --- Support this podcast:
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